Jul 5, 2016

Conquering Mount Rinjani

People who know me well, knows that I hate camping, hate the feeling of stickiness and not be able to shower even for a day. But somehow, I end up signing up for a 3 days 2 nights including CAMPING to Rinjani!

It all started when I got  message from a friend asking me whether I am interested for a hike to Rinjani. I was like Rinjani what?!! Then I ask her day trip ah? She said no and there is camping involved. I told her no way I am going as I hate camping. But I asked another two friends and they said yes and somehow due to my yolo spirit and kiasuness of not wanting to ffk these two friends whom I persuaded to join the trip, I end up buying the flight ticket and paying for the 'camping' trip. I did not do much research nor train much other than hiking up Gunung Nuang two weeks prior and a two hour hike up to Pulpit Rock when I was in Norway. 

The day came when we boarded the flight to Lombok and then another two hours on the road to the foot of the mountain. Our group consist of total of 16 people with 8 were from the same group/clique. I prepared myself for the worst as we ate dinner and take a long shower before hitting the bed. We had three guides, Sarwan, Anan and Erun with another 16 porters bringing our big rucksacks, food, gas, tent, chairs and etc...yes...they brought even chairs up to the mountain, something we very much appreciated later on. We were briefed on the route and the hours for each route the night before. Physically I was prepared, mentally I was not sure..more like mentally not going to shower for 3 days. The plan is to use Sembalun trail for ascent and then Senaru for descent and spend 1 night each at the crater rim and hot spring. 
Carb loading before the hike

Our hotel at the foot of the hill

First stop. Let's take a photo
Our group of 16
(photo credit to tour leader)
The real deal is on the right hand side of the photo
(photo credit to tour leader)

We started the day around 9 am after having a heavy breakfast. The day was hot and humid and not long after 10 mins, I have started to sweat and asking myself why would I signed up for this. After about 1 hour, we took a small break eating bananas and filling up our tummies. This was before we reached Post 1 and it's already crazily hot and felt like in a savannah. After about two hours we reached the spot for our lunch, which is Post 2. We saw some half naked Dannish man running up along the trail and stopped at the same spot as us. My tour leader in his finest sense of humour decided he needed to take the moment of half naked men in full glory and captured us in his photos. Well, as least there were something for us girls to look back in the future:) After seemed like a more than hour of lunch and three bowl of rice for myself (I have never taken more than half a bowl of rice at home), we continue the journey, this time through the hot savannah field with not a single tree for shade.
Lunch for the day
(photo credit to tour leader)
cooking in the progress. the porter even brought a gas stove along!

check out all the stuff the porter has the carry
Oh and not forgetting that every few minutes, I felt like I was being 'chased' by one of the lady in our group. Apparently, after I told this to my other friends, they said the same thing of her trying to catch up with me and another girl. Sigh..it's not a race my dear! I conserved my energy and used most of the yoga breathing and small steps to hike up the Bukit Penyesalan, where there are seven small hills to be hiked. After seemed like eternity, we reached the camping site but to my horrow, it's surrounded by mist and I can barely see anything, let alone the lake or the peak of Rinjani. Apparently, our tent were set up at the most strategic spot overlooking the lake, but all I can see is layers and layers of mist. We settled down for the night and imagine my big surprise and happiness when we were provided with mattress and pillows. Ok, don't expect like the soft mattress and pillows in hotel but they were good enough for me, someone who hates camping! We washed up or more like using sheets and sheets of wet tissue for 'shower' and then I went out to 'survey' on the makeshift toilet prepared for us. Surprisingly again, it was far exceeded my expectation or maybe my expectation has been lowered down after witnessing how bad the toilet situation back in Everest Base camp. Soon after, we had our dinner and once again, it's a fight to get the chicken, lol.

The next morning, we were woken up around 1.30 am to ascent the peak in time to catch the sunrise. Before the trip, I repeatedly told my friends that I am not gonna try ascending the peak and I just wanna chill at the camp while waiting for sunrise. But somehow, kiasuness kicks in again and off I went in the dark, dusty, full of rocks and sand trail. We started the journey quite late and I knew that I won't make it for the sunrise and hence took my own sweet time to hike up. The first 70% of the trail was ok, fairly doable but the last 30% where the loose sand, rocks, volcanic dust and not forgetting the chill wind which I swear was blowing at almost 80km/h. Every three steps up were followed by two steps down and it was so demotivating that after half an hour, I barely move 50m! I spotted our guide, Sar and Anan along the way and many thanks to them that I managed to reach the peak at 8am. I even asked Anan to shield the 80km/h wind for me, lol.
the toughest part of the journey
(photo credit to tour leader)

Only manage to catch the sunrise mid way

The lake is totally covered in clouds
tour leader making his signature coffee tarik

Made it to the top

What I did't expect was it was really cold up at the peak and I was practically shivering through my jacket and uniqlo extra warm heattech. And while waiting for my tour leader who tried so desperately to light up the fire to boil his coffee tarik, a signature drink that he must do everytime he went up any peak of mountain or hill. After the arrival of the last member of the group, we did some group shots and savoured our hot coffee tarik. Then it's time to head down and here comes the tough part. You see, I have no qualms of climbing up any mountain but I have trouble going down. With the loose rocks and sand, I fell down more than 10 times and I think after that, one of the guide took pity of me and kind of fed up that I was so slow that he proceed to help me 'figure skate' down the mountain! At one point, I fell and almost dragged him down with me, almost making him the first guide in history to 'tergolek' down, lol. With the skating down part, I had to stop every 30 minutes to get the sand and rocks out of my shoe before continuing the skating and after 3 hours I finally managed to reach the campsite in one piece but covered in volcanic dust from head to toe. As it was almost 1pm, we had to make a decision whether to proceed to the hot spring or stay another night at the campsite. As I was too 'pancit' to walk anymore, I voted for another night and the same with the others. Meanwhile 8 others will descent back to the foot of the mountain to catch the transport to the Gili Island. I think our decision to stay on made the guides and porters extremely happy as the dinner for the night, we get to eat two whole chicken between the 8 of us instead fighting over a small piece of chicken like the other night!
Dinner in progress
(photo credit to tour leader)

BBQ chicken, two whole chicken instead of bite size chicken
(photo credit to tour leader)

After conquering Rinjani
(photo credit to tour leader)

Camping in style

Segera Anak lake

We were so happy to finally see the lake 
The decision to stay another night at the campsite proved to be the best decision made as we managed to catch up on sleep, rest and finally able to see the lake in front of our tent during sunset. We also enjoyed gazing at the stars at night with the warmth from the campfire while trying to guess the title of the movies mentioned by our guides, haha. During the night, it rained but surprisingly it was quite warm in the camp. I was surprised that I was really enjoying my stay in the camp and quite chill about not showering for the 2 full days.

We enjoyed our hike down which turn took us about 8 hours plus lunch in between as we played, sang, jump and skipped along. I think our guide must be thinking these people were crazy and they might as well joined in the fun, lol
Plenty of Edelweiss

And my guide keep asking me to take a photo of him with the cow

Another jump in front of Rinjani

Crazy things that we do while descending
(photo credit to tour leader)

See what I mean, even our guide Sar and Anan joined in the fun

Didn't know that a can of coke can make us this happy
Rolling hills of Rinjani

And finally we made it back in one piece with 3 days of dirt and unforgetable memories
 Going on this trip made me cherished little things in life such as comfortable bed, meat, shower, being in good company and having good health. It is also my first ever camping trip that I really enjoyed and this time around, my leg was fully recovered from the ache by the second day, unlike the previous time in KK when it took me a week to fully recover. I guess being prepared and doing some yoga really helps a lot. To all the porters and the guide we had, trully appreaciate what they did, taking care of us for the past few days and not forgetting tour leader for organising this and lastly, my dear friend who first contacted and asked me,"Eh, wanna go hike Rinjani or not"? and to think that I almost ffk her :)